Ian Garry reacts to a UFC win

Following fairly significant pre-UFC hype and a 4-0 start to his career, Ian “The Future” Garry is getting his first crack at a ranked opponent. The 25-year-old Irish fighter has bookended his wins with knockouts and sandwiched two unanimous decisions in the middle.

Daniel “D-Rod” Rodriguez, 11 years older than Garry, dropped his last fight and won a controversial split decision the bout before. Rodriguez’s UFC record is 7-2 with 5 of those 9 fights going the distance.

Garry vs. Rodriguez is a main card bout on this Saturday night’s UFC on ABC 4 event. If you’re looking to place a bet on the fights this weekend, sign up to MyBookie using our special link and you can get a sign-up bonus worth up to $1,000 for this event.

Betting Odds

The pattern continues and Garry is yet again a large favorite.

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Fight Breakdown

Garry is a well-schooled fighter with a big frame for the division and the youth to continue making significant improvements to his game between fights. Garry is 6’3 with a 74″ reach and knows how to use his size and length well in the cage. He is incredibly skilled offensively with smooth kickboxing, excellent timing on his counters, sneaky power when he sits on his punches, fluid lateral movement, and a clinch game that he can turn to when he needs to recover or win close rounds.

While Garry is undeniably impressive offensively, his defense is what raises red flags. Garry tends to let his opponents dictate pace and space, struggles against pressure and combination strikers, and his strategic striking sometimes results in low volume that causes rounds to be closer than the talent gap should allow. Ultimately, Garry, on paper, is a ranked-level fighter with the striking and grappling game to make a run into and up the rankings. The problem, thus far, is he hasn’t shown anything “special” yet. An inability to show something “special” against lower competition gives me pause to think he has what it takes to compete against and beat fighters who have and are special themselves.

Rodriguez is a boxer through and through. He stands southpaw, and uses a stiff jab to keep distance and control the movement of his opponent. He then follows his jab with quick and snapping combinations that often work both the body and head. His left hook to his opponent’s liver and his right hook to his opponent’s chin is a beautiful combination. D’Rod’s striking is long at range, compact in tight, and always well timed and rarely a single shot.

Rodriguez is defensively aware when he’s the one moving forward but can struggle with his reactions when moving back. Often, when an opponent pushes him backward, Rodriguez will look to counter but can expose his chin in the process. Thus far, his take-one-to-give-one counter game has been successful (he’s never been knocked out). But, as we saw last week with the iron jaw Dober, age, and damage eventually catch up. Rodriguez has been in some wars over the years and is 36, so it will be even more important for him to be on the front foot, where his defense is better, in this fight.

Prediction and Betting Guide

Rodriguez needs to take the Gabe Green game plan – pressure boxing – that gave Garry fits and elevate it to a ranked level. If Rodriguez can work behind a jab while moving forward relentlessly, then unload combinations in boxing range, Garry has proven to be hittable, stationary, and at a disadvantage in close. However, if Garry can either keep this fight all the way out, at more of a kickboxing range; or, all the way in, in the clinch, Rodriguez will be the one at the disadvantage.

I think the key here is that Garry has yet to prove that he can be the one to dictate pace and space. Even though he has the tools to control the cage and inflict damage from multiple areas, Garry struggles to implement that game plan. Instead, he is often reacting opponent’s pressure and countering their game with his.

In a fight like that, where Rodriguez gets to lead the dance, I like the more veteran fighter, the better boxer, and the more defensively aware fighter to get the win. All that plus a +230 price tag? Sign me up. I also like for the fight to go the distance (-135); but, because Garry needs a signature win and Rodriguez is aging, a finish is possible.

Best Bet: Rodriguez to win (+230)

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